The kids and I drove off in one direction and my husband Eric in the other, us back to Houston and him on to San Antonio for a conference. We had just finished a peaceful weekend with family in tiny De Leon, Texas. Upcoming were several days of traveling for him and separation for us. It would give me lots of time to write, although inspiration is a fickle thing. Sometimes when he is gone, the emotion generated by missing him floods my pages; other times, I am too flat for creativity. My training, especially swimming, would probably suffer in his absence as well.
When we were about one mile outside of De Leon, my 12-year old daughter Susanne said, “Mom, Eric is behind us with his flashers on, and he’s honking.” We could not hear his horn — or his repeated calls to my cell phone — due to the decibel level of her song selection: Jesse McCartney and Dream Street performing “Sugar Rush” (if you haven’t heard it, it’s as bad as you imagine).
I looked into my rear view mirror, and his emergency flashers and car filled the frame. For a moment I panicked that he had bad news, but intuition grounded in experience told me otherwise.
“What did he forget?” I asked the kids. My grandmother called people like Eric “a day late and a dollar short.” He was forever forgetting something.
Opening my car door, I leaned out and peered back over my shoulder. He loped in an exaggerated fashion to our old Suburban, like Rocky at the end of one of his workouts in the streets of Philadelphia. I’m sure the Hereford cows watching from the side of the road were as entertained as me.
“Mom wants to know what you forgot,” my son Clark announced before either of us could speak.
But Eric already had his arms around me and his face pressed against mine. He spoke so that only I could hear, which wasn’t hard to do with Jesse and the Suburban as cover.
“My favorite Brad Paisley song came on, and it made me want to touch you one more time. I figured I could still catch you.”
“What song, the one about the ticks?” I asked. “Eric! There are two kids in the car, and this is a public road, you know.”
“No! The one about the yellow pair of running shoes.”
“Oh good grief! You know the one; the one I think he wrote from me about you.”
I knew the one. I quit being difficult.
“You are so sweet. You drove after me just to tell me that?”
He nose-snuggled me. “And to touch you. And to tell you I love you, and I wish we were heading back to Houston, together.”
“And you didn’t even get pulled over for speeding.”
“I was definitely speeding.” I could feel his smile against my face.
We held on to each other tight for another few moments, and the kids didn’t interrupt us — shocker. My heart thumped its dread of the upcoming days without him, but I knew my fingers would dance happy words across the keys now. Maybe I’d even ride the darn bicycle. I sat on the side of the road and watched him in my rear view mirror as he walked back to his car, and I kept watching as he turned around and drove away, toward San Antonio this time.
p.s. I now own yellow Adistar running shoes. I knew you’d want me to share that information with you.
p.p.s. Click this link the lyrics to Mac Davis’ “Texas in my Rear View Mirror,” alluded to in the title of this blog.